Monday, May 17, 2010

Never Hula Hoop with Barbie

Yesterday our church ladies put on a Hawaiian themed pool party at the YMCA. Women were expected to swim for a while, then enjoy each other’s company looking like drowned rats. The idea was to create an atmosphere that would make unchurched women feel "comfortable" among us religious folks.


I secretly thought it was the most hairbrained idea I’d ever heard of. I mean, what woman over a size (fill in the blank) wants to socialize in a bathing suit? And that among strangers? I ached for us women expected to strip ourselves down to such vulnerability. Then I stopped aching, thinking no one would show up.

I had to show up, as I was asked to provide the entertainment for the after-pool party. I brought my girls, figuring at least they would have a good time. (Little girls are typically more comfortable in exposed skin than we grown-ups are.) I dumped my happy kids in the water and sat on the bench, still in my church clothes (I turn purple and shake uncontrollably in water less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave me alone about it; I might die and you’d be sorry.).

I sat there, warm and dry, watching thirty women (a third of which were visitors) splash around, enjoying their bathing bash. They played ball and giggled with my girls (insert tinge of guilt here), and walked around the pool as uninhibited as naked toddlers. No one seemed to mind exposing blinding-white skin, spider veins, and thighs that look like the surface of a lake on a windy day. No one that is, except me.

But there was something so beautiful, so precious, about every wrinkle, dimple and sag exposed in that room. Those imperfections comprised one big gift exchange among my sisters. They were the language of unleashed love: "I love you enough to trust you to love me in return, just the way I am." Part of me—the part that doesn’t mind being cold—wanted to strip my rippled self and jump in with them.

After the pool party the drowned rats entered the community room for fun and games. Uh-oh. Could I compete with the fun they’d had in the Arctic? Well, I certainly tried. I taught them how to Hula dance, seeing as I just returned from a trip to You-Tube. (My daughters later told me I looked like a crippled chicken, trying to swing my booty like that.) Then I taught Darcie-the-Barbie how to hula-hoop. “Just watch me,” I told her. I hurled my hula-hoop directly to the floor three times. She got hers going instantly, and stood there modeling her spinning waist ring, saying she’d never tried it before. I think she was lying (wink wink).

Enjoy the following video: Wrinkled Ladies

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